San Diego Business Journal
The San Diego Foundation is giving $500,000 to the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce to help launch the Chamber’s new Urban Business Resource Center (UBRC).

The new Center, to be located within CSDBCC headquarters at 404 Euclid Avenue, will be dedicated to boosting economic equity for Black entrepreneurs throughout San Diego.

The funding announcement was made on Oct. 6.

The seed money for the new Center will come via a $300,000 grant from the Black Community Investment Fund (BCIF) and a $200,000 grant from the San Diego Foundation’s board of governors.

Offsetting Pandemic’s ‘Inequitable’ Outcomes

The Black Community Investment Fund was co-founded in 2020 by The San Diego Foundation and the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce. The fund was seeded with a $1 million grant from The San Diego Foundation as well as $250,000 from San Diego Gas & Electric, $75,000 from Wells Fargo Bank and $25,000 from Cox Communications.


Pamela Gray Payton  Chief Impact & Partnerships Officer   The San Diego Foundation


Donna DeBerry   President/CEO   Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce

“The pandemic has had inequitable outcomes for many, including the Black community in San Diego,” said Pamela Gray Payton, chief impact and partnerships officer for The San Diego Foundation. “By supporting the Center, we will foster equity of opportunity by increasing access to resources, so San Diego Black business owners and Black families build generational wealth and transform their futures.”

“Even before the pandemic, Black-owned businesses experienced disproportionate denials from financial institutions and access to resources and tools to build sustainable businesses,” said Donna DeBerry, president and CEO of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce.
DeBerry said the Chamber has collected data and insights from local Black entrepreneurs regarding their needs. “The results of this data provided the Chamber an opportunity to create a model innovative program called the Urban Business Resource Center,” DeBerry said. The new UBRC will help “develop, support, sustain and scale businesses at all different levels.”

‘Collaborative’ Hub

Deberry said the UBRC will provide a “collaborative hub” for Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs. The center will also host regular office hours and other activities that will increase Black entrepreneurs’ access to resources and tools to grow their businesses, from mentorship to access to capital.

The funding announcement comes on the one-year anniversary of the launch of the BCIF, which prioritizes and invests in community-led, innovative efforts that increase racial equity and generational wealth for Black San Diegans.

The Foundation grant for the new Center required the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce to raise an additional $500,000 for the initiative. Donors included Bank of America and San Diego Gas & Electric.

The matching grant addresses an important pillar of the BCIF -- entrepreneurship. Other pillars guiding the BCIF include education, employment and housing.

In support of the housing pillar, the BQuest Foundation donated $160,000 to the BCIF for the Black Homebuyers Program, launched in August with Union Bank, LISC San Diego and the Urban League of San Diego County.  

Through the donation, The San Diego Foundation will be able to fund another four first-time homebuyers, creating a total of 35 families that can be assisted this fiscal year with $40,000 grants.

Additionally, the first two homeowners funded through the Black Homebuyers Program closed escrow Oct. 5 and several additional prospective homebuyers are in the pipeline for the program, which is managed by the Urban League of San Diego County’s housing assistance team.

Targeting the education pillar, earlier this year, the BCIF awarded $500,000 in grants to Neighborhood House Association and San Diego Workforce Partnership for education and career training programs. Those grants included:

$100,000 to expand The Neighborhood House Association Youth Fellowship Internship Program and provide 80 to 100 Black high school and college students with “high-quality, career-rich” paid internships.

Two $100,000 grants, one each from The San Diego Foundation and Bank of America, to support the San Diego Workforce Partnership TechHire program to train Black San Diegans for information, communications and technology jobs with paid work experience, subsidized training and job placement.

Two $100,000 grants, one each from The San Diego Foundation and Bank of America, to support the San Diego Workforce Partnership Construction Career Jumpstart program for San Diegans interested in the energy, construction and utilities sectors.

Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce
Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Lincoln Park
CEO: Donna DeBerry
Notable: Given more than $1 million in grants over past year to Black-owned businesses  
Contact: (619) 235-2300

The San Diego Foundation
Founded: 1975 (as San Diego Community Foundation)  
Headquarters: Liberty Station in Point Loma  
CEO: Mark Stuart  
Notable: The Foundation has awarded more than $33 million in scholarships to San Diego area youth.  
Employees: 65  
Contact: (619) 235-2300